The Hubbard Memorial Library respects the right of library users to privacy and confidentiality, in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 4 Section 26 and Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78 Section 7 which state that circulation and registration records identifying the names, addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers of library users, and the materials borrowed, are not public records. The intellectual pursuits of individuals using library materials or library computers are considered confidential information.
In accord with the law, the policy of the library is not to reveal the borrowing records, holds, or fine records to any person other than the owner of the library card. The library does recognize that it may be necessary for a parent or legal guardian to be provided with information about a minor’s library records (e.g. when a child’s library materials have incurred fines or are lost). In these cases, the parent or legal guardian who is financially responsible for the child’s library materials will be supplied with the pertinent information.
Patrons are encouraged to obtain a Personal Identification Number (PIN) through the C/WMARS online catalog so that they can access their borrowing record privately from home, work, or a library computer.
The library respects the rights of users to privacy and confidentiality in their use of library computers. The library will not release the names of persons using Internet computers or information accessed during individual computer sessions except as required by law.
No records can be made available to any inquiries, governmental or otherwise, unless a subpoena had been served by a court of competent jurisdiction and the library administration has consulted with Town Counsel to determine if it is proper to release the requested information.
Such records shall not be made available to any individual or agency except pursuant to such process, order, or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigative power.
Upon receipt of such process, order, or subpoena, the Director will notify the Chair of the Library Trustees and consult with Town Counsel to determine if such process, order, or subpoena is in proper form and if there is a showing of good cause for issuance. If the process, order, or subpoena is not in proper form or if good cause has not been shown, such defects must be corrected.
The USA PATRIOT ACT supersedes state law and expands the federal government’s authority for access to library records and documents to investigate matters of national security. It also expands federal law enforcement’s authorization to track telephone and electronic communication. This law also prohibits library staff from informing patrons if federal agents have obtained records in their name.
Library staff should refer all formal requests for circulation, registration, or computer records to the Library Director.
Approved by the Board of Trustees: November 7, 2017